Tag Archives: caribbean

Gypsy in the Moonlight

I learned this traditional Caribbean play-song at the Kodály workshop this summer. There was a lot of talk about what a gypsy is. I had already learned that gypsies are from Romania, and that they are nomadic and travel all around Eastern Europe. They go from town to town, playing music and dancing in exchange for food and money (in NYC we call this “busking”, and you don’t have to be a gypsy to do it). I found out last July  that there is much more than this to the gypsy culture.  You can tell a gypsy by sight because they have darker skin and different facial features than the native Romanians. Rumor has it that gypsies originally came from Egypt and travelled all over Europe; they even have gypsies in Greece.

This song comes from Trinidad and Tobago, where the history and culture of many European and African countries have collided to create a rich musical heritage. The songs are usually sung in English. They are almost always accompanied by hand claps. Many of the games and dances are played in a ring. And there are numerous “show me a motion” songs to learn and play. This song includes all of the above.

The students stand in a circle and begin the clapping pattern. One chosen student walks around the outside of the circle during the first verse. When the second verse begins (line 3), he/she walks into the center of the circle. On the words “all I want is (name)”, the chosen one picks another student and sings their name, inviting them into the circle. During the last verse, the two center students show off their best dance moves.

GYPSY IN THE MOONLIGHT

Gypsy in the moonlight, Gypsy in the dew.

Gypsy never come back until the clock strike two.

Walk in gypsy, walk in. Walk inside I say.

Walk into my parlor and hear the banjo play.

I don’t love nobody, and nobody loves me.

All I want is (name) to come and dance with me.

Tra la la la la la, Tra la la la la.

Tra la la la la la la, la la la la la.

geographical origin: Caribbean – Trinidad and Tobogo

tone set: s mrd l,s,

meter: 4/4

pedagogical use: extended pentatonic scale, movement improvisation, form, clapping complex rhythm while singing